Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Importance of Being Scared

Isn't it fun to be a little scared sometimes?  That's our motto around here.  Fear is fun, especially when you know nothing can really hurt you.  I've been going through some important changes in my life lately and, with those changes, I've been thinking a lot about fear.  After all, change can be scary.  We, as humans, tend to be drawn more toward stability.  Why else do you think people freak out if a series they like is changing in any way?  But I digress.  This article isn't about change.  It's about fear.

My reaction when I heard that a Beetlejuice 2 might happen.

As a kid, I was a big fan of things that scared me.  One of my favorite shows was "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"  I remember watching the first episode and running to hide behind the couch when the theme song started up.  I watched the first few episodes from behind that couch, through my trembling fingers, or from underneath a blanket.  I was scared of it.  And yet, I kept watching week after week.  I eventually started getting used to the show and watched it without having to hide from it.  

I didn't know it at the time, but the show was actually teaching me an extremely important lesson.  (You know, besides the schmaltzy stuff most kids shows try to get away with.)  Fear is good.  Fear is important in order to get through life.  Without that fear as a child, people will never grow up to be well rounded, functioning members of society.  For, without fear, it's basically impossible to be brave.  

Here's an example.  Shaggy from the Scooby Doo cartoons is the bravest character in that franchise.  Why?  Because, despite being afraid, despite complaining and wanting to turn back, despite believing in ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, he keeps pushing forward.  He helps his friends solve the mystery and he helps captures the monsters.  He does all that despite his fear.  The others know that monsters don't exist and shrug off every ghost siting as another trick.  Shaggy believes in the danger and moves forward anyway.  THAT is bravery.   

As kids, we expose ourselves to fear.  Most kids are afraid of the monsters in their closet or under their beds.  The more kids get scared, the more they come up with ways to deal with that fear.  They learn from it, finding ways to work with, around, or through that fear.  Without learning to cope with fear as a child, I probably would be a timid, shaking mess every time I left the house.  I definitely wouldn't love horror as much as I do today.  

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